Blogging from Bali

Aug 19th, 2008, 07:24 AM
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Putu got married about 3 days ago. The entire village attended. More than 200 people. Celebrations for 3 days. And, he was ill for about a week. Give him time to respond, and I will remind him to check his emails.

Re: an expensive dinner. The pad thai at Anantara was US $14. At Sarong, which was packed, upscale and very good, it was $5. Thus, the title expensive applies. And, the Anantara was empty. (On that score, we pay less for a pad thai in NYC, then what Anantara wanted to charge. As if . . . )

Dinner tonite was at Tratoria, in Seminyak. It was --- great. Excellent pesto pasta, pizza and well chilled red wine. The place was packed at ten p.m. with about 50% or more of the crowd Italian, including the owners. People waiting out the door, or really into the street to be more accurate.

On the way back, we walked, we stopped at Ke De Ta. It was also croweded with a very flash crowd. Boy, Seminyak/Bali really does get some crew. I'm re-thinking that lawyer office idea. I bet there's lots of business here. . . . .
tengohambre is offline  
Aug 19th, 2008, 03:14 PM
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I'm very wary of the moonkeys in Bali. [Actually we call them minkeys in homage to Peter Sellers.]

I've never heard of a monkey in attack mode but they will often violently snatch food -- or even sunglasses -- right out of your hand. A monkey that would attack without provocation is most likely a sick monkey so with respect to Putu's opinion, I'd opt for the rabies treatment. There is definitely rabies on Bali, monkeys, dogs, bats.

tengo, your trip sounds like so much fun. I've been to Bali so many times it's hard to remember what the first time was like -- wonderful with emphasis on the wonder. Where did you hold your vow renewal ceremony?

marmot is offline  
Aug 19th, 2008, 04:31 PM
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tengohambre , if you are down in Kuta and near the Bali Memorial to the bombing in Jalan Legian try Maccaroni which is on the opposite side of the road and along a little .

Fabulous lunch special for 39,000 rupiah - pasta or pizza and a beer and coffee .

Italian owned .Wonderful dinner menu and they have a dinner deal as well if eating before 7pm from memory .The sesame crusted tuna is really good.

Odd place to be sited but don't let that deter you .Been there since 1996 or '98 pre Seminyak restaurant scene really exploding .
JohnFitz is offline  
Aug 19th, 2008, 04:49 PM
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I'm with marmot on the monkey issue. Any animal that attacks without provocation should be considered rabid in a rabies endemic area (Bali qualifies).
Kathie is online now  
Aug 19th, 2008, 05:55 PM
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this is what i have been telling you about Gpanda but no one listens to me and they keep befriending him....BEWARE!!!!!
rhkkmk is offline  
Aug 19th, 2008, 07:31 PM
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We are at the Samaya in Seminyak and the wedding was done here, overlooking the beach. Via email the hotel arranged just about everything.

Today is Galungang, as I mentioned and, indeed - the island is quite. Many restaurants and stores are closed. Thus, I may have to rough it beach side.

We head to the royal pita maha soon. We just called to arrange their transport for us and they said, "I am so sorry. We don't have a record of your reservation."

Huh? I made it months ago. And, I have the confirms. I will email it to them. If not, we aren't moving from this hotel.
tengohambre is offline  
Aug 19th, 2008, 08:08 PM
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call alam shanti and see if they can help you
rhkkmk is offline  
Aug 20th, 2008, 02:44 AM
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Ok, so the royal pita now found the reservation. Maybe they lose them like I lose keys from time to time? They were very nice and apologized profusely.

Weather was good today but, unfortunately,the famous sunsets have been a bit clouded over.

Dinner is at Made's Warung, or Bumbu Bali or similar. There are too many options. Or, there is a simple Indonesian spot, Sate Bali, right across from the hotel that is apparently very good. That might be our best option. Sure enough, Galungan is a big deal and many many spots are still closed here.
tengohambre is offline  
Aug 20th, 2008, 03:12 AM
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I have been to Bali 3 times, last in 2005, also stayed in Seminyak at Oberoi, loved it. While you are still there, I very much recommend you to have dinner at The Ku De Ta, great food, service and cocktails,If they still have it try the slow cooked chicken and after dinner frozen vannilla daquiry. The place is not so "flashy" as it seems at first impression. To other very nice restaurants where we also have been frequently are La Lucciola and The Dining Room. The restaurant at The Legian is also very good. Tips for Ubud: Lamak restaurant and Warung Warung. In Kuta try The Kori Restaurant.
jpam is offline  
Aug 20th, 2008, 06:10 AM
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Thank you for the Ubud suggestions. Ku De Ta is also closed tonite, as was Made's Warung, and La Luciola and a bunch of other spots. We essentially toured a few restaurants, looking for what we liked. The hotel has a driver/car and they will take you where you want. Thus, we looked at Blosoom, a Thai spot at the Sentosa Villas. It looked Ok but was essentially in the lobby of the hotel. Pass. Then we went to the Living Room. Looked pretty swish but, it also looked like you could be eating anywhere. Pass. Hu'u Bar was nice but maybe too cool, and not too croweded. Thus, we found ourselves at Osteria Telese, for more Italian. It is down the street from our hotel and almost across from the Legian.

Vittorio, an older Italian gentleman, opened it a few yrs ago. He has been in Indonesia for a couple of decades. He always loved to cook "mama's dishes" but opened Telese only in the past few years. It is simple, like an outdoor trattoria. And, again, this place too was absolutely packed with Italians. (Seriously, perhaps they have a non stop from Roma or Milano to Denpasar??) And, again, the food was superb. Really. I cook a lot of Italian, and eat a lot of Italian, and this spot was just great. Home made pastas. Beautiful salads, grilled eggplant and similar. The special tonite was linguini with marinara and fresh crab. Excellent. As good as I've gotten anywhere. Ditto the Milanese for the kids. The pastas are aroub $4 and the main dishes similar. A bit more for shrimp and the like. I have no doubt that the Italians can't eat that well for the price back in Italy.

Its not a bit late and everyone is turning in. I will have to look forward to a day at the beach tmw.
tengohambre is offline  
Aug 20th, 2008, 07:11 PM
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We leave Seminyak for Ubud later today. While we are excited to head up there, this place has been terrific. And, the sun is now shining brilliantly. We hope we get some sun up in the mountains too.

As I mentioned, while we knew August was high season here, the island really is packed with tourists. To the credit of tourists everywhere, Bali is back and I think the arrivals of tourists now outpace those of a few yrs ago. As indicated, not too many Americans but, hopefully that will change too.
tengohambre is offline  
Aug 20th, 2008, 08:27 PM
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so what about jewelry purchases?? jill deserves more than a plastic pearl ring from china town in nyc...
rhkkmk is offline  
Aug 21st, 2008, 05:04 AM
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tengohambre - Putu got back to me! Not sure if you had anything to do with it or not, but just in case, I wanted to say thank you.

I can't wait to read your reports from Ubud. Not too many of those from Americans with kids.
Statefan is offline  
Aug 21st, 2008, 06:07 PM
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... warm greetings again, tengohambre, and thanks for yet another fine post concerning that certain Singaporean airline ...

... your son has been to a magical place, of which only the bravest men dream: a sensational Singapore Girl, cleaning him with towels, providing him with a cherished sleeping suit from the F cabin, and caring for him, and enquiring about him, for hours on end ... sir, if I may be so bold: your son is already fast tracked to the world's finest universities ...

... savour your Balinese times and your SQ return, perhaps once again, with ms. k - all the way ...


... and the inflight service even other airlines talk about ...

AskOksena is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2008, 12:14 AM
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Ok, so we are still in Bali and having a great time. While we should actually be in Ubud now, we are back in Seminyak.

We traveled to Ubud and to the Royal pita maha. The hotel is a series of pvt villas spread out over the Ayung River Gorgre. Supposedly, it has one of the best views of the valley and, we couldn't imagine any better. It was nothing short of jaw dropping. And, in truth, when I first saw the view, my draw jopped. The rooms are very large, as is the pvt pool and deck area. Certainly the size of a small pool that a small hotel might have. There are lots of steps to the resport and it is done up in traditional Balinese style. The property is owned by the royal family of Ubud. Huge stone carvings, statutes, balustrades, everthing. A sheer riot of Balinese architecture. Really impressive; as if you have moved into someone's private estate.

The hotel has a number of pools and it stretches all the way down to the valley floor. The Ayung River runs through the property, and when we walkled down to the river (quite a walk and elevator ride) we could see some of the rafters going past, just a few feet away.

However, notwithtadanding all this beauty - the place wasn't for us, or the kids. The hotel seemed nearly empty, the best thing to do there was to compeletely relax and stare at the gorgeous view, it was a ten min ride from town and the staff was not up to what we had expected. We should have recognized this before we went but, you live and learn.

We have now been to Ubud twice on our trip, once for a few hours and then again when we were at the RPM. Both times it was clouded over, and a bit of drizzle. While that is to be expected, I understand, it wasn't what we wanted. And, truth be told, we thought the town looks a bit down at the heel in places. Ubud has lots of shops and restaurants but we thought they did not compare to Seminyak, as far as what we were looking for. As indicated, the staff at the hotel too simply weren't very on the ball. And, though we were paying deluxe room rates, when we wanted a shuttle into town (if we didn't choose to wait for the appointed shuttle run) or from town we were told repeatedly, "that is five dollars." That is fine but when we called the shuttle from Terazo in Ubud, to take us back after dinner the waitress actually came back to us and said, "Yes, hotel can pick you up but they say it will cost you five dollars." You must be kidding me. I now need my waitress knowing I will pay five dollars to get back? Its not the five dollars, its the way it was handled. There were many such little points. Likewise, the big glass doors in the room couldn't slide shut well so we were spraying the small openings with Off to keep the bugs out. The sheets were very rough, as in they scratched, the bed hard and wherever you went you couldn't find a hand towel in any of the hotel bathrooms, which were otherwise immaculate. The long winding pool that the hotel has which is located down by the river, it is almost a quarter mile long, was covered with leaves and other things that had fallen intto it. Sure, that is what happens in the jungle but its a chlorinated long pool; where is the skimmer? The little raft that the hotel has that you can use on that very long pool was "out of service," it had a hole in it. What I think is simply that the hotel isn't up to the same int'l standards that it bills itself to be. While that is Ok, and we appreciate we are in Ubud, it doesn't mean that we have to pay for that. The staff was very well meaning and tried hard, but rather clueless.

So, to make this long story short, I asked my family, "who wants to go back to Seminyak?" and the family answered resoudingly yes. Thus, we stayed one night in Ubud and came back to Samaya. Ironically, that happends from time to time we were told. (And, we also know tht some folks travel to Ubud and only want to stay there. For us, it can easily be done in day trips.) Plainly, in the future, we know we are more beach folks then country folks.

Weather today is superb. As for food, it too has been astonishingly good. There is a very wide variety of restaurants here. We haven't had a bad meal yet. Terazo in Ubud was excellent. Terrific gazpacho, summer rolls and an Indonesian curry chicken. While wine is expensive, pretty good bottles can be had for under $30 U.S., and the Bintang beer is very good.

In short, we are having a terrific time. We leave for Singapore soon.
tengohambre is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2008, 07:25 AM
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tengohambre: I have been following your reviews. My husband and I will be in Bali from 11/21 to 11/27.I like to stay at Samaya (which room category?) and Ritz, Conrad or?? Should we stay at one resort for 7days or split up the time? How did you book the resort? I also need to book Putu or Dean for the driver. Thank you.
clear is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2008, 05:19 PM
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clear...take a look at alam shanti....gpanda and my wife and i felt it was one of the best places we have ever stayed!! we had the gangga room which is their #1 room...
rhkkmk is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2008, 06:35 PM
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I can give you more info on out return (heading to airport now for flt to Spore) but, if you want to have access to good restaurants and shops then you really want to be in Seminyak. No question about it. The Samaya has similar rooms in all categories. You may just want to book the entry level and then perhaps upgrade, if necessary once here, though it likely isn't necessary.

Yes, book Putu now. Yet, November shouldn't be a problem.

Ubud can be done in day trips but that can get tiring. With kids we thought the beach was the better option for us. Yet, it is very personal. You will love Bali.
tengohambre is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2008, 07:29 PM
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Sometimes you just can't tell until you get there. The very first vacation my husband I took together (35 years ago) we went from Kuaii to Maui than unexpectedly back to Kuaii when Maui just didn't compare. Tengo, good for you for taking charge of the situation.

I like the Ubud area (though not the town itself) but I think that there are quite a few over the hill places that are getting by on outdated reputations. In the tropics newest is often best, or at least a sizeable renovation budget.

I also really like the beach in Bali -- it's not pristine, it's not deserted, but it's wonderful for walking and wave watching. Being a diehard Legian fan, I never stayed at the Samaya, though I watched and listened to it being built from the Legian, but I think that particular area of Bali beach -- from the Anatara to La Lucciola is the best choice.
marmot is offline  
Aug 24th, 2008, 12:55 AM
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Personally, I tend to think Sanur has the better kids' beach, but what do I know. I don't have any. At Seminyak, there's always the risk they might see something in the bushes up past La Lucciola that might cause some awkward questions. But I do like Seminyak.

I'm in Manado at the moment. Fascinating fight in from Makassar. Startlingly blue sky today.
MichaelBKK is offline  

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